BORD IASCAIGH MHARA TO INCREASE VISIBILTY OF WOMEN IN IRELAND’S SEAFOOD INDUSTRY
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, have launched a promotional campaign to profile the important role women play in Ireland’s Seafood Sector. The Irish Seafood Sector contributed €1.15 billion to Ireland’s GDP in 2017. However women’s participation in the industry remains low. Just over one in ten (11.7%) employees in fishing, forestry and agriculture sectors in Ireland is female. This is significantly lower than the EU average of 36.9%.
BIM CEO, Jim O’Toole, emphasised the agency’s role in supporting and encouraging greater female participation in the sector:“BIM is assisting the Irish Seafood Sector to capitalise on the talents of women in the wider sector. In addition to training and mentorship, we are also working with women across the catching, aquaculture, processing and retail industries to develop a network to share information and ideas that will further progress and elevate their role. BIM’s promotional campaign tells the stories of talented women in a variety of roles, increasing the visibility of women in the sector and celebrating their contribution to this valuable industry”
BIM has worked closely with the catching sector in particular. Many women in this specific sector work behind the scenes managing the accounts for fishing businesses or as the key communicators and fishing representatives in their fishing communities. BIM has formed partnerships with International Women’s Groups to gain insights into how they have developed effective networks, including the Australian Women’s Industry Network Community(WINC).
Jayne Gallagher, Director of WINC was in Ireland last week to meet with individuals from BIM and with women from the Irish seafood sector. Jayne Gallagher spoke of her support of BIM’s plans to develop a Women in Seafood network and said:
“It has reinforced to me that even though we are worlds apart in our circumstances and our experiences, we all want our stories to be heard, we are passionate about our industry and we want to have an impact. Working together we can help ensure a viable future for the seafood industry. Ensuring women are recognised and supported in their roles, takes courage and determination and the fledgling network here needs nurturing from its members and its stakeholders to maximise its impact and potential for the wider seafood industry”
In the lead up to International Women’s Day 2018 on the 8th March, BIM is launching a campaign #Irelandswomeninseafood which will include a series of podcasts that tell the stories of a selection of women who work in the fisheries sector in Ireland. The stories will be available on www.bim.ie or @BordIascMhara
Sea Stories Podcasts Feature the following women in seafood:
‘I’m Siobhan Faulkner, from Clogherhead, Co Louth. I’m passionate about our coastal village Clogherhead and its fishing community. I want to help ensure there is a future in fishing here for the coming generations. Most people in fishing communities are families with a history of fishing.
My family are active members of the Clogherhead fishing community and my husband Barry and I have three trawlers and our son also has his own boats. I volunteer and chair the Clogherhead Development Group and the group is a local driver for initiatives like Tidy Towns, Louth Looking Good and Pride of Place. We help maintain the Blue Flag status of our beaches; a clean coast is vital for everyone. The Clogherhead Development Group works hand in hand with the local fishing fleet on all these projects as well as collaborating with industry specific projects like BIM’s Net Recycling and Fishing for Litter.’
‘I am Catherine Moore and I live in a village called na Gorta Dubha, in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, in the heart of the West Kerry Gaeltacht . I have lived here all my life. At just 18 I took over the family farm after my father’s sudden death. I had two younger sisters so really without much thought I started milking cows and going to the Creamery, the Mart and all the work related to farming.
The Irish language is part of our identity and as a Bean a Tí I welcome teenagers and young adults into our home for two or three weeks in the summer to experience our culture so they can improve their Irish in a enjoyable way.
In 1991 I married fisherman Eddie Moore, who had been my boyfriend for ten years - ever since I was at school. Eddie comes from a fishing family and as our family grew we bought our own boat, the MVF Misty Dawn. Fishing families are resourceful, hardworking people and we do what we can to make our living from the sea. It is a family business with a difference with long hours, physically demanding, sometimes dangerous, work, and always re-investing to secure a future. We are at the mercy of the weather, with quota restrictions, and no financial support when there is no income for weeks on end due to bad weather.
But I feel lucky to be in a fishing family where there is a special connection with our past, our present and more importantly our future. What Eddie and I work for is to have a future for the next generation. We want to share our knowledge and inform the public on our work and produce.’
Caitlín Uí Aodha
‘I am Caitlín Uí Aodha, from Co. Waterford and I am the owner of two boats at sea. I had my first boat at 22 years of age and I am politically active in the fisheries industry. I am on the board of the Irish South & East Fish Producers Organisation and I am the chairwoman of LAST (Lost at Sea Tragedies). My own husband Michael lost his life in the Tit Bonhomme tragedy in 2012 so I'm passionate about the work LAST does.
LAST provides a network of support to all the coastal communities around Ireland offering financial, practical and emotional support, including bereavement counselling, to the families of fishermen lost at sea. Have a look at www.last.ie to find out more about us.’
‘I'm Trudy McIntyre, from Dunmore East, Co Waterford. I'm the daughter of a fishing family and now the wife of a fisherman, Shane McIntyre with two young daughters. I came into fishing through my father, spending time with him when he was out working on the boat.
For me what's really important is making the case for the future of fishing, for its sustainability and for the unity of the fishing community. We must work together to get the story of fishing as an industry out to the public. By working together we'll get far more achieved than working separately.
I volunteer with the Irish Coast Guard and with LAST (Lost at Sea Tragedies) and I am chair of the South East RIFF ( Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum) and I am a member of the NIFF (National Inshore Fisheries Forum). I am also honoured to have elected by my colleagues to take part in working groups at both Ministerial and national level to represent the fishing sector.’
‘I am Norah Parke, I am originally from Cobh, Co Cork but settled now in Co Donegal and I work for the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, primarily with the shellfish sector. With my husband Malcolm, I ran a successful family seafood business, in Donegal, that specialised in the live transport of brown crab and lobster, before joining the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation in 2005.
I prepare background policy documents and develop transnational industry-based networks to promote all aspects of the brown crab industry: catching, quality and promotion.
No one day in our business is the same. It is important for us to have a higher profile and I think women can have a huge say in changing the perception of what fishing is all about.’
‘I am Monica Buckley and with my husband Niall Deasy I own, and run, DC Fish in West Cork. I knew little about the fisheries industry until I married into it but for over twenty years now it has become my life. With so much of my husband’s catch going overseas I set up a business adding value to the seafood - Fish Seafood Deli and between the businesses we employ over 25 people. I am passionate about the future of our industry, about creating a sustainable economy for fishing and for the future of coastal communities like Union Hall. We have a great story to tell and a great food produce to share. I volunteer, like so many fisheries families, with the RNLI and with their essential work at sea.’